The waters of the Dead Sea are vanishing at an alarming rate. According to environmental group EcoPeace Middle East, the water level drops about one meter per year. Many people around the world might be wondering whether they will one day have the chance to dip their feet into its waters. According to CNN, the Dead Sea is primarily fed by the Jordan River and its basin, but some of those it relies on have been either dammed or diverted. Some of its minerals highly prized for their therapeutic properties and have been extracted for commercial purposes further weakening the foundations of the area.
Mirroring the situation of the saltiest bodies of water on the planet, Jordan’s tourist numbers had also been dwindling for a number of years. Then came the Covid-19 pandemic and everything worsened. According to the UN World Tourism Organization, tourism revenues fell to $1.4 billion in 2020, a fall of 76% on the previous year. According to the World Bank, Jordan saw tourist numbers drop from 8 million in 2010 to 4.24 million in 2016.
It is in this context that during World Travel Market this month in London, Jordan’s Tourism Board has launched a new campaign, branding itself the “Kingdom of Time.” The campaign is the country’s latest effort to win back visitors.
Twenty months later, Jordan is back, ready to unveil its new tourism brand, as an authentic reflection of a destination which, within a land that can be traversed by car in less than a dayNayef Al-Fayez, Jordan’s Minister of Tourism
With its bold ‘Kingdom of Time’ brand platform, Jordan is reintroducing itself as an accessible, intriguing and multifaceted destination that appeals to the rising global tribe of intrepid travelers; independent, active, digital-empowered explorers and travelers seeking meaningful experiences and human connection.
In early 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic brought to an abrupt halt what was already a multi-year acceleration and diversification of the Jordan tourism offering. Beyond the world wonder of Petra, the country was getting global attention for award-winning nature and adventures like the Jordan Trail that traverses the Kingdom from north to south.
The Trail offers views of the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea at the planet’s lowest point, for its urban and town tourism, with the band Coldplay choosing the ancient Roman and Islamic ruins in the heart of the contemporary capital Amman as a stage to launch their November 2019 album Everyday Life, and for attracting seekers of authentic flavors to enjoy the mosaic of Arabic culinary delights of the Jordanian kitchen.
“Jordan fuses together a dizzying collage of geological and natural diversity, historical richness, a tradition of spirituality and faith, and a contemporary Arabian culture of openness and warm hospitality that welcomes everyone for leisure, business and healing,” said Nayef Al-Fayez, Jordan’s Minister of Tourism.
Jordan’s core brand promise as ‘The Kingdom of Time’ appears to be very relevant today: a place where one can literally touch all of geological time and human history, where time can accelerate in a bustling city center, or go to slow-motion during a dive of Aqaba’s Red Sea underwater coral forests, or even come to a total standstill in the desert of Wadi Rum, under a clear starry sky that unveils the Milky Way.
Jordan’s new tourism brand also marks a shift in the role of tourism as a driver local sustainable developmentAbdel Razzaq Arabiyat, Managing Director of the Jordan Tourism Board
“Co-created with a wide spectrum of Jordan’s tourism, cultural and creative communities, the brand was conceived by the Jordan Tourism Board in cooperation with an alliance of local and global firms, designed as an inclusive catalyst to spread tourism across the Kingdom, benefiting both traditional tourism operators and our emerging generation of hyper-local tourism experience creators,” said Abdel Razzaq Arabiyat, Managing Director of the Jordan Tourism Board.
Beyond brand building, Jordan’s government and tourism business have worked diligently to ensure the health safety of citizens and guests. The Kingdom’s successful efforts at preventing a first Covid-19 wave made global headlines in 2020. “Today we are one of the first countries in the region with a fully vaccinated tourism sector,” added Al-Fayez.